Julene Tripp Weaver
Pharmaceutical wonders are at work
but I believe only in this moment
I refused AZT. Eventually, my T-cell count
fell to fifty, only then I agreed
to a non-protease regimen:
Epivir, Zerit, Viread and Viramune.
Their chemistry made me manic,
unable to sleep, deprived. A walking
time bomb waiting to explode.
A friend asks, Why do you call it sex addiction?
Often I want to hide from everyone—
no one comprehends—only in my own time,
with my own words and slow space is there peace.
There was no choice but to start a protease.
Hell to take meds every day with meals that must
contain fat. Surprised I survived this far
with a relationship, a man who stayed.
Eventually the pills sorted themselves out—
and I had to agree the drugs are a miracle—
but death will not stop, pernicious and cruel,
laughing it will enter, a common infection,
my skin will turn ugly, isolate me from the world,
ravish my insides, steal my energy.
There are days I forget to take my pills—
days I live normal—want to feel the breeze
without the neuropathy, enjoy a quiet moment,
sit by a window with a book
and a pen, ready to catch words.
Julene Tripp Weaver is the author of Truth Be Bold: Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press, 2017), No Father Can Save Her (Plain View Press, 2011), and Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Riverbabble, River & South Review, Paddock Review, and The Seattle Review of Books. A psychotherapist, Weaver worked in AIDS services for over 21 years. Find more of her writing at www.julenetrippweaver.com.
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